hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

Parting Gifts

There you are, standing waiting for the results. You hear those infamous words, “and the winner is…” Your name is not called. You get an accommodating smile, kind words as a testament to what a great job/effort you made. All you hear is, “I did NOT win. A game show tactic, a way to make all participants feel ok with where they ended up. Perhaps this is short-sighted, perhaps it is ungrateful, however, allinall, no one plays for second.

I recall vividly when Tiger Woods was at his peak, he was all the sports magazines and writers could talk about. Whatever tournament he was in, he was projected to win. He was in the number one spot without competing for YEARS. Disgruntled, disappointed players spoke of NOT being counted out, but they fell, one by one. Others, who included champions spoke of him and looked upon him in pure simple “awe”.

Then he met with his “fall from grace”. No one stays on top forever, but the abruptness of the ending is what bothers us the most.

All beginnings are or should be with hopeful expectation, this one was no exception. Not what was the norm, there was a degree of cynicism. You move forward anyway, nothing else of significance is happening…”why not” To your surprise it starts off good and gets better. RAPIDLY. Before you know it there are flickers of hope, they soon turn to stars in your eyes. The fact that he says and does the right things at the right time is no coincident or happenstance. You will later discover or deduce it was a plan, his “M.O.” Nonetheless for now it is all good! You make time for one another. There are countless reasons for communication you both seem to seize each and every one of them too. There seems to be a meeting of the minds and therefore why shouldn’t you endeavor a physical connection.

One of the biggest challenges of online connections and long-distance relationships is a time factor. When you are in close proximity, you figure out early on whether or not you want this to move forward, and it is as simple as selecting a middle ground location. The couple that has to face the fact they are miles and miles apart have to be cautious as well as factoring in timing. How long do we wait to see one another in person, where do we meet, if we like one another how far do we take this on an initial meeting? For one wrong move, one miscalculation or misinterpretation can destroy the potential relationship before it gets out the gate. Moving too fast may give the impression of desperation or promiscuity ( imagine that at our age). While moving too slow make for more competition to enter into the equation.

Therefore, you play it by ear, you go with your gut. At first seemingly you are on the right track. Then out-of-the-blue everything changes. You ask what happened, what is wrong with the other person, what did you do wrong. These questions asked separately or in conjunction with one another still call for expert interpretation and still you have a massive margin for error. One might think well go straight to the source. While that seems to make sense what gives you the expectation that any truth will come from the direct approach. Then you are left to your own devices. You figure, guess, surmise numerous scenarios and each of them gives you solace, until you entertain another possibility.

Nothing is feeling right at this point in time, and nothing makes sense. In my humble opinion it, all boils down to this, you were NOT playing for a consolation prize, you were in this to win. Somehow you fell short and for whatever the reason, nothing makes it better. In the end you realize that no matter what you obtained from this experience, there is virtually nothing to keep this from happening again. Yet you find yourself right back in the arena, playing for the win. Again

“HeyMs.Parker…..”

Anyone who knows their way around the “Friday” franchise is familiar with that quote. I can smile as I think of my younger brother’s friends who charmingly referred to me with that greeting from time to time. I was amused at the time and feigned flattery. Now as I look back, flattered is exactly what I should have been. I recall being told that the actress who played Ms. Parker, Kathleen Bradley, was a former Miss Black California and had been a model on the Price Is Right. I “tahtahed” that off, because as a part of the cult-following of the movie itself, almost all of the characters were special in their own rights.

Over the years there have been remarks some complimentary others had undertones of jealousy, judgement and judgmental. Being tall a lady makes one stand out. Yes, I emphatically consider myself a lady. I do not believe I have done anything to exclude myself from that classification. I am mostly amused by the reactions of my contemporaries and counterparts. I can only imagine what goes through their heads when a person who falls in the average category sees me (standing 5’10 in my bare feet) wearing heels and a dress that reveals my legs. Legs that probably look like they are far longer than they actually are. The standards of size, beauty, what is and is not acceptable, varies from one being to the next. Then the judgements begin.

When I used to deliver mail, female carriers had uniforms that included an item called culottes (split skirts). Doing a physical job like that, it is imperative that one is comfortable. The culottes were my choice. Neat, clean, and in approved standard attire I was still subject to snide little off-color comments. I was younger so not only did I not care, but I also had answers back for my critics and commentors. Years/decade later I still meet with the same types of critiques. I am fortunate enough to have decent health, I also try to stay healthy, I eat fairly good, I go to the gym daily, and I follow my physician’s advice. When I walk past the ladies in my community, a senior community that I bother to pick up trash around (that other have not so courteously dropped), and I greet them I am well aware that they do not approve of my look. If I am honest, I have to say, I STILL really do not care. I am not harming anyone and just like my old letter carrier uniform; neat, clean, and within the approved standard of… in this case decent. What I wear has all to do with MY comfort; how I feel and how I feel I look.

In my mind see Ms.Parker bending over in her shorts watering the grass, I wonder if I appear that way to people in the neighborhood. I am not even close to her image, but when we talk about perceptions who knows. One thing for certain, no one around this community will be invited in to “pray with me or “prey” upon me.

Just Somebody I Used To Know

I was about 18 years old and madly in love…with a young man who was NOT in love with me. One day while I was sitting at my job looking sad, likely just finishing my daily cry, one of my friends who was quite handsome himself, came to me and asked what was wrong. I told him of my lament. He sweetly told me, all you have to do is stop letting him have the power to hurt you, all you have to do is let him go. While that sounds like it is almost too simple to work, it was good advice. He was right. That’s another story, however it sets the tone for this piece.

In the wake of political decisions that seemingly are hurling us into our backward pasts, our friends, family, associates are polarized and vocal. It is happening in places and with individuals you could never imagine. Mine occurred in a subtle, innocent conversation with somebody I used to know. What started off and was, I believe was intended to be a casual, friendly talk and possible meet-up/reconnect became an eye-opening startle. The arrogance and entitlement came blustering through. I guess he thought he was being funny and cute. He may not even be aware that he was coming off offensive to me, for it was the undertones that came blaring out at me, even though he was not exactly directing his smug thinking at me.

Perhaps he had a bad day, maybe it was a direct encounter that prompted the talk. He could have been coming to someone he felt was close enough to in order feel something other than what he conveyed…end result is he unwittingly, unknowingly showed me something that made me feel quite happy we were no longer involved, and our contact was sporadic. Furthermore, he made me know that we cannot be ANYTHING even on the most miniscule level. I don’t even want to be in the same room with him. In my “eyes” he is a cretin. He disguised himself well, but the truth is any one of us can behave ourselves for a short period of time. What I find so ironic is that he did not consider the consequences of him revealing himself to me or affecting me in such a way that was not positive. Therefore, he had no reason to think I would not want to be in his presence. He clearly sees nothing wrong with what he said and that makes “us” having interaction even more ridiculous.

I thought maybe being around me, my ways, my points of view made him consider things outside his norm. There did not seem to be any communication issues, we talked a lot. However, once we were no longer involved, he was allowed/forced back to what was his comfort zone, the small narrowminded spaces he occupied along with the same type of people overtook him and returned him to something he had considered venturing away from.

I wish I was a big enough person to want to “pull his coat-tail”, I wish I could get beyond my being offended to try to inform and enlighten a once seemingly good person. I am not, all I want him to do is go back where he came from, no longer invade my space and allow me to forget I ever met such a human. Then if I ever by chance run into and cannot avoid him completely, I can tell myself he is somebody I used to know, with a question-mark.

“Rats In Cuter Outfits…”

I guess I cannot help but to utilize metaphors in describing this journey through ” senior dating”. Try not to laugh. Although I find it comical as well as frustrating. Admittedly, I do not know what it is I am in search of at times. The one thing I am clear on is that I certainly have NOT come into contact with it…so far. As amazing as it seems, I am still hopeful. There is the possibility of a miracle.

Here we are, figuring this “stuff” out. “IT” is not easy. Just when you think you have the answer(s) you seek, an exception/a variation appears. Now it seems we have formulated this set of “deal breakers” but then along comes the one who is checking off all of the boxes, so many of the boxes and as time goes on…one or two of the boxes.

What began as legitimate requirements and at times very superficial whims begin to degenerate. Try as you might, resist valiantly, after several failed attempts you find yourself sitting across from an individual that you aren’t sure can walk upright, let alone carry on a coherent conversation. Strict and proper upbringing makes you try to be polite and not literally RUN FOR IT! This is not funny/fun anymore; it is becoming scary. Yet as bad as this type may seem, there is one much worse.

The one who is worse gives off the appearance and demonstrates the temperament of a serious contender. He is the squirrel…he gets through the phone calls, he is familiar with eating utensils, he even has the right look. However, upon closer examination the truth about him comes out. You start to see through that fluffy coat and full plume covering his tail. The cute little twitching nose starts taking on familiar characteristics of a rodent. His bight eyes become beady. Suddenly you realize he is that rat, that same rat that you find repulsive and determined is unwelcome in your life. You ask yourself how he got past all of the screens you set up. Then it hits you, he was wearing a disguise. However, like any disguise, it eventually has to come off. In this case when he dropped his guard, the costume fell to the ground and revealed although you had been keeping company with a squirrel for sure, he was still just a rat in a cuter outfit.

Splintered, Fractured, and Shattered

As I finished my cardio workout at the gym this morning, I felt it happening. It comes from nowhere, out-of-the-blue. My eyes are drawn downward, then the tightness is felt in my chest, then finally the water begins to well up in my eyes. Though the years have passed the feeling, the hurt, the pain returns with the intensity and velocity they had the moment it happened. I tried to look upward so the tears would not fall. I inhaled and exhaled deeply, not uncommon while one is working out so it could go unnoticed, but you must understand when the grief overtakes me, I really don’t care who sees me. This thing that was happening was the result of me trying to fight it off, my attempt to keep the sadness at bay.

I moved to the next machine and the thoughts started happening. “You know you are never gonna be whole again”, the voice said to me. YES, I know this consciously. I counted out my sets but there it was, ” You have lost every close familial relationship one can have. Father, mother, child, sibling, spouse and 4 of those 5 took place inside of 3 years. How crazy are you?” I have to realize what an effort it is most days to simply remain upright. I was ready to just stop my workout. I saw myself walking out of the gym, getting into my car, and staring out into oblivion before I collapsed into and puddle. I could picture the mess that I am, I could hear that primal scream. It all seemed too real but yet I was still in the gym, still at the triceps’ machine. I also still exist in the place where all of the afore mentioned loss has occurred. I still want to escape the reality of that. I continue my work out, and do in fact manage to finish it without losing control.

As I get into my car and prepare to leave, I realize how very broken I am and furthermore how I will never be the whole individual I once was ever again. I liken myself to a car without its engine, brakes, powertrain and even the steering wheel. At first glance it can be recognized as a car, but upon close examination you soon discover it is missing parts. It is not beyond repair, it can run again, it is in need of some very vital parts. Without those parts it will simply sit in a stationary position and deteriorate. Unlike the car what is missing from me cannot ever be replaced; substitutions and distractions are the best that can be hoped for from my splintered, fractured, and shattered existence. There are still good things left as with the metaphor (the car) you just have to realize that even put back into running condition it is/I am forever changed, and I shall always be aware of that which I used to be/that which I have lost.

Translation…”I Don’t Care”

I’m not jealous or insecure… You can tell me anything…” Has anyone ever uttered those words to you? How did you react, what did you think? Let’s explore some possibilities here.

The era of no-contact everything is here. Touchless entries, download the app to expedite BLANK, keep at least this much distance between yourself and others, and mask according to CDC and local guidelines. However, this is not about protection from the pandemic, this is about protecting your heart, mind, soul, and bank accounts.

As we navigated the terrane of this thing called dating, we found a common ground. We communicated in the traditional fashion. We decided to keep moving forward in spite of the obstacle of distance. In all due honesty I am NOT a fan of long distant relationships. I do personally know of a successful one. I just KNOW that I am far too…whatever. I require time and attention, no matter how I try to downplay it, sooner or later my unwillingness and/or inability to tone that down shows up and shows out.

Of late more individuals have appeared and have been checking off the boxes. I began feeling hopeful. Then in he walked (not literally). I did not believe he was real at first and truthfully until later when he walked into the restaurant, I was still skeptical. Great time, great conversation, great guy… great possibilities???? Well, no not really. There were plenty of red flags, they did not matter because I was certain he would disappear and be placed in the “round file” as so many others have been. Now be clear his red flags were simple; I do not believe his intentions were anything really dubious. He was merely exercising his options and he could do that safely without vesting much of anything into our contact.

See you don’t get to be given priority and treated special, yet I continue of occupy the “cheap seats”. What had to happen was for me to recognize that this was exactly what was happening. Remember I am steadily being blinded by those blasted checked-off boxes! I never took myself off the market, if-you-will. Now that the smoke has cleared, I dusted off my brain and there it was, I saw it clearly. I did not want to admit to it but, I had to pull back or be sucked-in and filled full of regret. This way we can part ways civil, he will either not notice or try to feign NOT understanding. in either case I know that we are here, at this place because he does not care…or let’s say he does not care enough.

Why Are Humans So Dirty?

As I walked down the cleaning supplies aisle at the store. Said to myself,” There is no need/reason for us to have to exist in dirty environments. Except for the fact that human beings are for lack of a better description are “PIGS”.

First off let me be clear, I am OCD regarding being clean. I am not embarrassed about it. I kinda think I fell into it by virtue of my upbringing. My parents had a janitorial service when I was growing up. I hated that they did that type of business, but I would go along and help when I was allowed. I promised myself I would never do anything as demeaning as cleaning up after other people. All I could think of was what the actual process was, I never took into consideration the fact they were small business owners. Growing up in Southern California, I wanted to be the daughter of a doctor as I had an aunt and uncle who both were. Never be mistaken that I loved my parents, I could NOT have had better ones. I just wanted something more glamourous. There was absolute irony that decades later my late husband, my late son and myself would own and operate a cleaning business.

The adventure began with my spouse and I working for a franchise cleaning company. It was horrible! We were sent blindly into homes and businesses of humans who for various reasons were unable or unwilling to pick up after themselves. It was both a harrowing and eye-opening process. It allowed us to be hands-on in a testing ground for our future business. Now years later as I address the dirty human condition as I see it, I have a point of reference. The process did begin at home.

The child who neglected to return toys to the proper spot, the parent that let the child express themselves by hurling forks filled with food across the room… well now that child has grown up and littering the streets does not seem to be a problem or concern. When you hear this perhaps you are surprised. If that is the case, you will be even more surprised when you find these same individuals feeling no remorse or reservation in trashing the very location they reside at/in. No respect, no concern, no value given to one’s surroundings/environment.

Sometimes when we humans are feeling full of ourselves and superior to other life forms find one of our own misbehaving, we will refer to them as “animals”. However, I caution against that reference for in more cases than not “animals” do not relieve themselves where they consume their meals. As we are discussing here, we superior beings are doing just that thing…so I ask,” Who is the ANIMAL?”

You Romantic Fool You

Once upon a time we used to pick up the phone and call individuals we cared about. We enjoyed things like hearing their voices. The sound made us aware of their mood, what kind of day they were having, if they were annoyed, and if they were glad that we called.

Now we exist in a communication “black hole” everything is text or some silly form of social media. What type of catastrophe has to occur for one to actually let another hear their voice?

Dating in the early autumn of your life is an enigma, one that really would be better served if it stayed that way. Honestly, it is scary to think what some of the answers might be. I wish I could forget what the norm was the last time I found myself in the land of “single ready to mingle( and YES I know that phrase dates me”). It is difficult to know how to formulate a plan when the ultimate goal is in a constant state of revision.

In our youth we were looking to have some fun and eventually settle down. However, as our autumn leaves continue to turn, one finds themselves in the crux of urgency. In a society and culture where being a couple is ranked in a higher status than being an individual, we are tossed in an arena that tells us we are or should be on the road to finding that ONE suited for YOU. No one wants to feel like their choices are limited, but one does have to be realistic…time is not necessarily on our side. So how much of it do we care to devote to games. Yes games, the things everyone SAYS they do not have time for, yet they ALL participate in, one way or another.

Truthfully, it is not anyone’s fault that we ended up here…honesty, intentions, goals are all subjective. Meaning the fact that any and all can change from moment to moment is no surprise. One of my personal issues was I continued to expect something wonderful and fantastic to come along, because something pretty damn fantastic and wonderful was taken from me. It made perfect sense that I would get a reasonable facsimile of a “replacement (no matter how impossible this is for one being can NEVER replace another)”. I guess by virtue of exposure to the generations of entitlement that mindset had worn off on me, in spite of the fact that I did not belong to said generations… EXPOSURE to that thing called entitlement had/has affected me.

I found myself gravitating toward that Disney fairy-tale romance filled land the moment I ran into a guy who met a few of the standard that I set. Standards that I knew were high but NOT impossible to attain. Plus, we must remember time is NOT a commodity we have an abundance of. Disappointment after disappointment, failure after failure has slowed my enthusiasm down but it has not brought it to a complete halt. Why one might ask, well the answer is simple. I AM that romantic fool.

Now Don’t Get It Twisted

The one that voices their opinion without concern for those who have opposing views. Yet, giving respect accordingly. The title or name that gives identity to someone in your life or presence. My late husband and I would often take notice and revel in the need of our society to give everything a label. Oftentimes the name alone did not suffice, it had to have a catchy little phrase to draw much more attention to this person or thing. Why? you ask…because it is our feeble way of trying to appear as though we truly understand. Remember the word appear.

This may already seem to be a collage of rambling thoughts. Thoughts of confusion; thoughts of disappointment and “being let down”, thoughts of anticipation and the need to “hurryup“, thoughts of “gut-wrenching pain” from loss and grief, finally thoughts of reflection forgiving and “letting go”. Each of these categories worthy of time devoted to them individually but instead tossed about in our psyche in no particular way, with no rhyme or reason that we can pinpoint. Well, it is understandable that one might not be able to make “heads or tails” of anything

The feeling of, “I’m not gonna show you mine until you show me yours, can sometimes overtake us emotionally. Yet it also serves as a warning. We have to preserve our dignity, our ego and that which is familiar to us. For without this familiarity, we are lost; and at this juncture in our lives, we can ill afford to be lost and possibly have to start over. The thought is ridiculous. Yet it plagues us. Is your head spinning yet?

Here it is the real twist. This piece is twisted because at times that is just what we are. We are bobbing and weaving through our lives. Afraid to move or sit still because we may miss something. Being painfully aware that we do not have our entire lives ahead of us, because our chronological age tells us odds are we now have a very finite number attached to us. Yet once again, things have always been like this. Our navigation process may have changed, but our ultimate destinations remain as they were when we began our journeys. Whether we see ourselves as taking a direct route, wandering off the beaten path, or floating about into oblivion many of us find ourselves questioning where we have ended up.

Good, bad, or otherwise it IS in our very nature to say, “What if….” That does not mean we want to or would change things; it just means that we entertain thoughts of the possibilities.

Perfect For Me

Okay the universe has jokes. I am quite serious here and furthermore it’s sense of humor is in poor taste!

One minute you are moving along ready to finish a good night’s sleep, when you are awakened to find yourself in the throes of a nightmare…a nightmare that you cannot awake from. Spiraling and spiraling until finally you do wake only it is to an existence you have no knowledge or recollection of.

In this new place you are beginning to pull yourself together, you have been successful in dodging the new obstacles put in your path. Now you are at a point where there is “light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” and in he walks.

He is simply, more of everything you think you want. How is that possible? You go from not truly believing he actually exists, to thoughts of “how nice it is going to be to settle down…at least for a night or two. Here it comes another obstacle, the perpetual curve ball. You now get to watch him slowly walk away and disappear into the same light you thought signaled an end to the bleak and sad places you occupy.

It is one thing to experience the disappointment in finding out what you thought and believed you want/need in a mate is a step away from a sheer “fairytale”, it is quite another to come face to face with it in human form virtually inches from your grasp. The truth is both scenarios yield the very same results, and it is not a “happy ending” for you.

We spent hours eating and then just talking. The lunch menu changed to the dinner menu. He must have left a generous tip because we were only met with an occasional glance as folks lined up outside awaiting a table and we occupied one that would accommodate a group of 5 or more people. Unable to get beyond this encounter and wondering could it be possible the universe was at last going to allow things to be righted for me. This is where I get to convey it felt like it went well, but common sense told me this would never happen. for the obstacles were REAL.

All in all, I had met a nice guy, a new friend but still I was to be plagued with the “what if’s”. What if I had never moved, what if he lived closer, what if we had met before I moved, what if I move back… the possibilities were endless. I daydreamed about this being the one I longed and wanted for. I also shook myself back into the realm of reality… the other state felt so much better.

Driving back home I thought of song lyrics…”a taste of honey is worse than none at all”. I was happy and sad this had not gone farther with the one who checked all of my boxes. Barring the really important one.

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